Bioactive Setup Guide

Bioactive Setup

What is a Bio Active Habitat?

A bioactive habitat is a closed loop system which forms a self-sustaining, selfmaintaining environment reminiscent of the biological processes found in nature. Bioactive setups typically utilize drainage layers, soil, microfauna to reduce waste, and plants to provide humidity & natural hides for your pet.

Using Pangea VivBright™ LEDs can provide the best spectrum for plant growth and illuminating your habitat. Live Plants Plants provide cover, utilize waste nutrients, maintain humidity, and increase the overall aesthetic of your terrarium.

Pangea Premium ABG Substrate is ideal for proper drainage, retaining moisture, and anchoring plants. Leaf litter also provides food and a suitable medium for microfauna to thrive.

Isopods & springtails act as a clean-up crew by recycling waste nutrients, promoting healthy soil, and boosting plant growth.

Drainage Mesh
A non-toxic layer of Pangea Drainage Mesh separates the ABG Substrate™ from mixing into the drainage layer below.

Pangea Aqua Balls are used as a base layer to create a natural aquifer for increasing humidity, promoting plant growth, and maintaining a healthy habitat.

Signs of a Healthy Terrarium

Pangea recommends a cycling period of 3-4 weeks for your terrarium to establish a healthy bioactive environment.
It is safe to introduce your new pet after the following conditions are met:

  1. Water level remains within Aquaball drainage layer and does not rise up into soil layer. The drainage layer combined with frequent misting will help humidity stay within the correct range for your pet. Use filtered water like Reverse Osmosis to mist and fill your drainage layer as needed.
  2. Substrate should feel moderately moist, but never soggy. Avoid packing down substrate when making layers. Add a generous ½” layer of leaf litter to provide food & humid zones for your microfauna to grow and thrive. Occasionally replenish leaf litter as microfauna begin processing and breaking it down. Beneficial bacteria and fungi will form to help decompose and transform organic matter into usable nutrients for plants.
  3. Microfauna are observed moving, multiplying, and eating. Feed isopods by providing a generous supply of leaf litter. Supplementing with a commercial isopod diet is optional. Be sure to remove any excess or uneaten food.
  4. Plants demonstrate new growth with either roots or new leaves — leaves should not turn brown or yellow at the stem, stems should be firm not mushy. If the base of your plant or leaves are turning brown or soft, check the soil to make sure it is not too saturated or that environmental conditions are ideal for those species.

Download Bioactive Guide

Bioactive Plants & Animals

Golden Pathos PlantGolden Pothos
Epipremnum aureum
One of the hardiest terrarium plants available. Great for beginners and experienced keepers. Provides excellent cover & thrives best when planted towards the terrarium background.

Download Golden Pothos Index Card


Bromeliad PlantBromeliad
Neoregelia sp.
An easy-to-grow epiphytic bromeliad that thrives amongst rock & wood crevices. Enjoys frequent waterings and retains colors well under LED lighting.

Download Bromeliad Index Card


Creeping PileaCreeping Pilea
Pilea nummulariifolia
A low-creeping vine featuring an attractively robust leaf texture. Grows
quickly and adapts well to humid terrarium conditions.

Download Creeping Pilea Index Card


Fittonia Nerve PlantsFittonia Nerve Plant
Fittonia albivenis
Features a beautiful mosaic leaf pattern which often comes in several different cultivars. Appreciatesleaf misting and adapts extremely well to humid terrarium conditions.

Download Fittonia Nerve Plant Index Card


Prayer PlantPrayer Plant
Maranta leuconeura
Stunning, easy-to-grow terrestrial tropical plant which derives its common name from the way it folds its flattened leaves at night. Thrives best in warm, moist, aerated terrarium conditions.

Download Prayer Plant Index Card


Parlor PalmNeanthe Bella Parlor Palm
Chamaedorea elegans
An attractive neotropical palm with graceful, elegant foliage and woody stems. Provides excellent cover. Known for its resilience and ability to tolerate a wide variety of conditions.

Download Neanthe Bella Parlor Palm Index Card


Baby TearsPilea ‘Baby Tears’
Pilea depressa
A lush, miniature trailing vine known for creating thick low-crawling mats. Capable of creating
a living wall when placed towards the terrarium background.

Download Pilea 'Baby Tears' Index Card


‘Giant Canyon’ IsopodsGiant Canyon Isopod
Porcellio dilatatus
Large terrestrial crustaceans perfect for terrarium clean up crews. Extremely tough & low maintenance. Fast rate of reproduction. Tolerates dry conditions. Breaks down organic waste & leaf litter.

Download Giant Canyon Isopod Index Card


‘Dairy Cow’ IsopodsDairy Cow Isopod
Porcellio laevis
Unique variety of P. laevis featuring a smooth blend of creamy white with a mottled black coloration. Fast rate of reproduction. Assists with the process of breaking down animal waste & organic matter.

Download Dairy Cow Isopod Index Card


Folsomia candida
Springtails are known for their ability to aid in the process of breaking down leaves & organic waste from primary tankmates (i.e. crested geckos, frogs, etc.). Prolific breeders, easy to grow & manage.

Download Springtail Index Card